Friday, December 9, 2011

Great Unexpectations

Several times have I met up with childhood friends I haven't seen in years only to discover we have absolutely nothing in common. It's not the same after twenty or so years have passed and the glue that once held you together--Barbies, My Little Pony, Rainbow Brite and hide 'n' seek--no longer sticks. Toy collection bonds no longer make a friendship and although we may attempt to unleash that old connection by finding a more age appropriate bond, it's often not there because we simply evolved into very different people that just happened to grow up in the same area or went to the same elementary school.

I had very low expectations when I went to pick Kristin up at her hotel last April for a martini at Lola's. I had not seen this girl since we were 8 years old. After spending all of 3rd grade at Escondido Elementary School in Palo Alto, Ca declaring to be best friends, she moved to the East coast with her family. I changed schools the next year and both our lives went in very different directions. Driving to her hotel my head filled with memories of playing Maple Towns (little animal family toys that had houses and towns to collect) at her place within Stanford's campus housing, racing on the monkey bars or chatting on the jungle gym, her getting the role of Gretel in our class production of Hansel and Gretel and me being extremely jealous that I was only her understudy. Although she held a really special place in my heart because she had been there for me during the trauma of my parent's divorce, adult interractions with other childhood friends caused me to doubt that a connection could still possibly be there.

As she walked out of the hotel lobby, the warm hug and eager grin Kristin met me with was so absolutely endearing. We talked in the car all the way (traffic always makes for a long time in Los Angeles) to Lola's, for hours at the bar as we sipped on martinis and chomped on chips and artichoke dip, and then continued our chatting all the way back to her hotel again. We highlighted the poignant moments of our lives--the hardships, the joys, the men that had come and gone, moves, jobs, travels. Despite having taken wildly divergent paths to becoming the women we are today, we surprisingly found commonalities and an unexpected new support system in each other.

Talking to her didn't feel like I was talking to a stranger or getting to know a new friend like it had with many of the other childhood pals I had attempted reconnection with in years prior. As strange as it sounds, it was as if we continued right where we left off at eight years old. Perhaps it was because we had a depth during that year that is unique for a friendship of that age or...perhaps we presently find ourselves in similar dilemmas or...perhaps we just naturally respond to each other's encouragment. Although I wish my 3rd grade best friend lived a lot closer (Kristin lives in North Carolina and I live in California), I feel so fortunate she is back in my life and that I just had the pleasure of spending quality time with her during her two week visit in the latter part of November. Apparently when it comes to true friendship, even 24 years doesn't break a bond.

After the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge in Mrs. Ayagi's 3rd grade class.

My parting gift to Kristin...she just recently told me she tried to emmulate my 8 year old fashion sense on the east coast by wearing this shirt with a jean skirt, but west coast style did not translate so well on the east coast...even with kids!

My parting gift from Kristin--a pink and white seashell bracelet.

Yes, that's right...I still have that bracelet!

April 2011

November 2011

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, I'm sitting here about to cry tears of joy!!:) Thank you for writing such a lovely piece about the beautiful friendship we share. I LOVE seeing these pictures, & can't believe you still have that bracelet!!!:) I wish I still had that precious t-shirt... I loved it & wore it for years, until it completely gave out, even when our good fashion sense wasn't always appreciated on the East Coast!;) I love you so much & I'm very grateful that we can continue our friendship after so many years. It is truly a GIFT!!:) With much love & admiration, Kristin:)